Think back over your life. Is there someone who helped you become the person you are today? Someone who saw your potential even before you did? Someone who helped you develop a skill, talent, or aptitude? Someone who believed in you, and caused you to believe in yourself?
A great mentor can change the course of a life, or a career. And implementing a mentorship program in your organization can change the course of your business.
The ROI is huge
Not only is mentorship a powerful way to coach and inspire talent, it’s ridiculously inexpensive. You already have the internal resources. All you’re really doing is linking them together.
Employee A, meet employee B. This person is going to help you integrate into the culture and develop your skills and strengths so that you feel confident and successful. Meanwhile, they’ll probably learn a thing or two from you as well. Together, you’ll uncover hidden strengths as you work to develop your skills and reach your full potential.
Creating these cross-company connections is productive on many levels.
- Enhancing recruiting efforts by attracting talent
- Helping with new hire onboarding and assimilation
- Building internal relationships and camaraderie
- Creating a culture based on teamwork, support and trust
- Improving productivity and accountability
- Reducing employee turnover
A solid mentoring program will help you do all of these things, largely using resources you already have. Sounds like a no-brainer, doesn’t it?
Why not get started?
Of course you will need to invest some time, energy, and maybe even a little cash as you develop your program and get it up and running.
To maximize the effectiveness of internal mentoring, you’ll want to build the mentorship program around your organization’s strategic plan and goals. Make sure it’s designed to cultivate the skills and attributes your business needs to succeed and your employees need to keep growing and developing within the company.
You’ll also need full leadership buy-in and backing. Mentorship starts at the top. If your leaders aren’t willing to support and participate in the effort, you might as well scrap it. But if your leadership team is already on board, there’s no reason not to dive in. With purpose, of course.
In other words, don’t just build any old mentorship program. Build the one that makes sense for your business.
Start by evaluating your strategic plan and desired business outcomes. (You’ve totally done this, right?)
Next, identify where and how you need to develop within your organization, and think about what connections can be made between employees and departments to facilitate growth in those specific areas. Ultimately, your mentorship program should be another tool to help you bring your company closer to its goals.
True mentorship shouldn’t be restricted to simply assigning a senior staff member to a new employee in their department. Positive mentorships can happen across units, locations, age groups, departments, and specialty areas.
But mentoring doesn’t always come naturally. For best results, be sure to include mentor training as part of your program. When your mentors are confident in their abilities, they will be far more effective in transferring that confidence to their mentees.
How will you know if your program is actually working? By measuring its effectiveness.
Define what success looks like and create an evaluation system based on that criteria. If your mentorship program is brand new, you can use current company stats for benchmarking data. As the program moves along, evaluate your indicators to see how they are performing and re-adjust as needed.
Once you’ve put all of your pieces in place, the real fun begins! Bring your mentors up to speed, match them up, and see the difference they can make.
Who knows? The life you change may be your own.
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